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Titre original : Interstage Construction Techniques for Mass Gain: An Overview

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Gain: An Overview

Anu Antony Resmi SS

PG Student Scientist 'SE'

Department of Civil Engineering Department of Structural Engineering

Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Indian Space Research

Kerala, India Organization

Deepa Varkey

Professor

Department of Civil Engineering

Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam, Kerala, India

Abstract

India has an array of achievements in the development of space technology and its application to vital areas like

telecommunications, television broadcast, meteorology, disaster warning, resources survey and management. This is being

achieved by various kind of satellites. In spaceflight, a launch vehicle is used to carry a payload (satellite) from the Earth's

surface space. The launch vehicle is made of different stages each with its own fuel storage and propulsion unit. The different

stages are connected together by "interstage structures". In this paper, design checks were carried out for different type of

interstage structures aiming for mass gain with various design options, namely monocoque structure, skin stringer type of

structure, closely stiffened structure, and isogrid structure.

Keywords: Monocoque Structure, Skin Stringer Structure, Closely Stiffened Structure, Isogrid Structure

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I. INTRODUCTION

Various types of structures such as monocoque, closely stiffened shell, isogrid cylindrical shell are used for carrying direct axial

compressive loads in launch vehicles. Monocoque cylinder means a thin walled cylinder without longitudinal or transverse skin

stiffeners. It has the least buckling strength compared to other structure for the given mass and strength. The structure is poor in

bending as well as in shear. The monocoque cylinder is modified by providing some stiffeners on skin, which is known as Skin

stringer. Skin stringer leads to increase the buckling strength and hence mass reduction possible. They are also known as Semi-

monocoque structures. In this, longitudinal members provide good resistance to axial compressive stresses. On further

modification of the structure, taking into account the mass reduction of the structure without losing the strength, a closely

stiffened structure is developed. In closely stiffened structures, a very thin skin stiffened by longitudinal stiffeners [closely

spaced] and ring at the ends are also provided. In monocoque and skin stringer, failure of skin takes place at few points which are

referred to as local failure or skin instability failure. Local failure in closely stiffened shell can be prevented by using stiffeners

which act as column with an effective length equal to the panel length. If the ring provided in the closely stiffened structure is

rigid, it will fail in such a manner that initial failure occurs in single point, referred to as panel instability failure (It is also a local

failure). In addition to these failure modes, there is also another failure called general instability failure. In general instability

failure, failure is not confined to the region between two adjacent rings. For the structure explained above, connection of

stiffeners with skin has been done using rivets. So there are chances for possibility of two other modes of failures like rivet

buckling and skin wrinkling. In order to prevent these failure modes, we can make stiffeners integral with the skin i.e., there

must not be any joints between stiffener and skin. This integral stiffening can be achieved using isogrid structure by providing

triangular stiffeners over the skin. The structural elements of a space launch vehicle are necessarily manufactured from light

weight metal alloys or composites to minimize the payload.

Elements such as the bulkheads are made from thin skin in order to reduce its weight by offering complete functionality. This

enables sustaining high axial forces without buckling. This conflicting requirement of the structure being light weight having

adequate stiffness can be resolved in a framework of multi-objective layout optimization.

Configuration

The structure is of cylindrical form having a diameter of 1000 mm and a height of 1000 mm.

Interstage Construction Techniques for Mass Gain: An Overview

(IJSTE/ Volume 3 / Issue 11 / 043)

Loads

a) Limit Loads

Axial Compression : 1000 kN

Bending Moment : 250 kNm

b) Design Loads

Load factor is assumed to be 1.25

Design Load : 1250 kN

Bending Moment : 250 kNm

Interface

Structures are connected to adjacent structures using interface fasteners. Fore end and aft end of the structure is provided with

end rings. Type and number of interface fasteners are decided based on the load coming over the structure.

Fabrication Aspects

In aerospace industry, stiffeners and skin are formed from sheets. Stringers are extruded and machined from various processes.

The end ring is forged and machined. The bulkhead is formed and machined. The isogrid plate is machined.

Failure Modes

There are various failure mode associated with various types of constructions. For the structure being discussed, the expected

failure modes should be analyzed and sufficient margin of safety should be there against each failure mode. General instability,

stringer/stiffener instability, skin buckling, inter-rivet buckling, skin wrinkling are some failure modes.

The knowledge of materials and their properties have a considerable role in designing process. The structural element or the

machine elements should be made of material which is suitable for the conditions of operation. The physical and mechanical

properties of material are related with the ability of the material to carry the mechanical forces and loads. The engineering

properties depends on its chemical composition. A design engineer must be familiar with the manufacturing process and types of

heat treatment process on the materials. A structural designer must choose a material with high specific strength (UTS/) and

high specific stiffness (E/) along with other desirable characteristics. Factors like cost, availability, ease of fabrication, and

flexibility of attachment options are also considered during material selection. Materials commonly used in aircraft/launch

vehicle industry for design of launch vehicles can be of metallic or composite types. Aluminum alloys are found to be more

widely used for manufacturing of launch vehicle structures. Since the strength and stiffness of these alloys are not high compared

to some other materials, they are more efficient. The main advantage of aluminum alloys are they are inexpensive, easily formed

and machined and are easily available. The 2xxx series, aluminum alloys among the aluminum alloy series, are commonly used

in launch vehicle structures.

The present design is carried out assuming four types of construction ie, monocoque, skin stringer type, closely stiffened and

isogrid type. The details are presented below.

The term monocoque cylinder means a thin walled cylinder without longitudinal stiffeners or transverse intermediate frames

attached to the cylinder skin. Due to the imperfections developed during various process of manufacturing the skin sheet, the

structure will fail at a stress far below the stress obtained theoretically using the classical formula. In the formula,

Kc π2 E 𝑡

Compressive buckling stress = ( )

12(1−𝜈 2 ) 𝐿2

If we use the classical approach, the value of Kc is high. After conducting various experiments, design curves are given to find

out the correct value of Kc using the parameters L, r, t and ν. These curves are used for the design purpose. Table-1 shows the

trials for thin walled monocoque structure.

Design Load = 1250 kN

Bending Moment = 250 kN m

Length = 1000 mm

Diameter = 1000 mm

Young’s modulus for AA2024T6 = 70000 N/mm2

Poisson’s ratio = 0.3

Z = section modulus

Interstage Construction Techniques for Mass Gain: An Overview

(IJSTE/ Volume 3 / Issue 11 / 043)

Table – 1

Design iteration for Thin walled Monocoque Structures

Thickness C/s Area M.I Applied Stress Section modulus Allowable Compressive Stress

Sl No KC MS Mass

(mm) (mm2) (mm4) (N/mm2) Z (N/mm2)

(kg)

1. 4.3 13509 1.69 x 109 16.62 443.7 90 10.528 - 0.366 45.89

2. 5.4 16965 2.12x 109 13.26 353.3 80 14.75 0.112 57.63

Weight of the skin = 47.33 kg

Weight of end rings = 9.76 kg

Weight of rivets = 0.54 kg

--------------------------------------------

Total Weight = 57.63 kg

Skin Stringer Structure

The cylindrical structure composed of a thin skin covering and stiffened by longitudinal stringers at discrete locations is termed

as skin stringer type of structure. These structures are often referred to as Semi-monocoque type of structures. The design of a

semi-monocoque structure involves the solution of two major problems, namely the stress distribution in the structure under

external loadings and the estimation of the structure to see if these stresses can be safely and efficiently carried by the structure

as well as the structure.

In a semi-monocoque structure, the longitudinal stringers provide efficient resistance to compressive stress and buckled sheet

panels can transfer shear loads by diagonal tension fields action, thus the buckling of the sheet panels is not an important factor

in limiting the ultimate strength of the over-all structure. Table-2 shows the trials for skin stringer structures.

Table – 2

Design iteration for Skin Stinger Structures

Sl No Thickness (mm) C/s Area (mm2) M. I (mm4) Applied Stress (N/mm2) MS Mass (kg)

1. 3.2 14053 1.71 x 109 18 0.19 40.85

2. 3.8 16938 2.09 x 109 13 0.60 48.51

Mass Breakup for Skin Stinger Structure:

Weight of the skin and stringers = 39.208 kg

Weight of angle plates = 0.385 kg

Weight of rivets = 8.7 kg

Weight of end rings = 0.6 kg

------------------------------------------------------------

Total Weight = 48.51 kg

Since weight reduction of the structure without losing the strength is the main objective, it is ideal to go for closely stiffened

structure in which the cylindrical structure is composed of a very thin skin covering and stiffened by closely spaced longitudinal

stiffeners and rings. This is also a semi-monocoque structure. In the following design, the skin buckles at a stress lower than the

crippling stress of the stiffeners. The skin is allowed to buckle. But we get a good margin of safety when the effective width

theory is employed. The stiffeners act as columns with an effective length equal to the panel length which is the ring spacing. If

the ring is sufficiently rigid, the structure will fail in such a way that the initial failure occurs in a single panel and thus it is

referred to as a panel instability failure. Table-3 shows the trials for closely stiffened structure.

Table – 3

Design iteration for Closely Stiffened Structure

Sl No Thickness (mm) C/s Area (mm2) M .I (mm4) Applied Stress (N/mm2) M.S Mass (kg)

1. 1.4 9388 1.21 x 109 24 0.19 37.7

Mass Breakup for Closely Stiffened Structure:

Weight of the skin and stiffeners = 26.2 kg

Weight of bulk head = 0.4821 kg

Weight of rivets = 1.026 kg

Weight of end rings = 10.0 kg

--------------------------------------------------------------

Total Weight = 37.7 kg

Interstage Construction Techniques for Mass Gain: An Overview

(IJSTE/ Volume 3 / Issue 11 / 043)

Isogrid Structure

Connection of stiffeners with the skin using rivets in the previous two methods leads to the possibility of two modes of failures

namely inter rivet buckling and the skin wrinkling. If it is possible to make the stiffeners integral with the skin, there is no

possibility of the above said failures.

Isogrid structure is one such type of structure in which triangular integral stiffening is provided. This pattern takes the advantage

of the simple fact that triangular trusses are very efficient structures. The isogrid pattern is so efficient that it acts like an

isotropic material. Table-4 shows the design iterations for isogrid structure.

Table – 4

Design iteration for Isogrid Structure

Sl Rib Thickness Rib Depth Skin Thickness Triangle Height Ncr1 Ncr2 Mass

M.S M.S

No (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (N/mm) (N/mm) (kg)

1. 5.5 5.4 2 80 71.81 0.002 106 0.5 26.02

2. 7.3 5.6 1.8 80 78.89 0.1 84 0.2 34.54

where Ncr1 & Ncr2 are general instability and skin instability.

Mass Breakup for Isogrid Structure:

Weight thickness, ŧ = t (1 +3α)

7.3 𝑥 5.6

= 1.8 x (1 + 3 x ) = 3.33

1.8 𝑥 80

Weight of isogrid structure = 2 x π x r x ŧ x l x ρ

= 2 x π x 500 x 3.33 x 1000 x 2800 x 10−9

= 29.21 kg

Weight of rivets = 0.65 kg

Weight of end rings = 4.68 kg

---------------------------------------------------------

Total Weight = 34.54 kg

IV. RESULTS

In this study, skin thickness is varied for different cases. The design of an inter-stage is carried out with four design options,

namely monocoque structure, skin stringer type of structure, closely stiffened structure, and isogrid structure. All the structures

considered have a minimum margin of safety of 0.1 against the primary failure modes. The weights of four structures are shown

in Fig.1. For similar margin of safety, the monocoque design results in the maximum weight which is 57.63 kg and the isogrid

version gives the minimum weight.

From the chart, we can infer that isogrid structure is found to be the structure with the minimum weight. However in the

present case, the closely stiffened shell also provides a comparable low weight design. In many applications switching from

conventional skin stringer or honey comb construction to isogrid construction can reduce costs while improving structural

performance by minimizing weight.

Interstage Construction Techniques for Mass Gain: An Overview

(IJSTE/ Volume 3 / Issue 11 / 043)

V. CONCLUSIONS

In brief, isogrid is an efficient, light weight, and low-cost design for many applications. The applicability of each of these factors

should be established via proper design studies. In case of isogrids, considerations should be given to the following:

By the usage of large integral panels, part reduction in lower stages can be achieved.

No. of fasteners can be reduced.

Eccentricity in joint can be reduced by incorporating the integral flanges in panel or shell structures. Thereby moment on the

flange can be reduced. Hence mass can be saved.

Fittings can be simplified by mounting on nodal points on the isogrid structure.

Fabrication easiness. Hence time can be saved.

Modifications can be easily made in CNC program to incorporate design changes.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

First and foremost, praises and thanks to the GOD, the Almighty, for his showers of blessings throughout the successful

completion of this paper. The authors acknowledge with gratitude Dr.S.Sivan, Director, VSSC for constant encouragements to

prepare this paper. Dr. S. Unnikrishnan Nair, Deputy Director- STR Entity, is acknowledged for the constant support provided in

carrying out all tasks related to this. Sri. S. Sirajudeen Ahamed, Group Director, SDEG is greatly acknowledged for the

encouragements and technical advice. Smt. Rachel SKD, Former Head, Lower Stage Structures Section for her valuable

guidance and support for carrying out this task is greatly acknowledged. The valuable technical comments provided by Sri.B S

Raju, Head, SDE towards the improvements of this paper are gratefully acknowledged. It is our privilege to express sincere

thanks to Sri.VJ Saji, DPD, PSLV Structures for the technical comments for improvements during the review of the paper.

REFERENCES

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3T class Launch vehicle : Evolution and Validation. Annual Technical Volume of Aerospace Engineering Division Board, The institute of Engineers

(India). 01, pp. 29-38

[2] Phani Charan N, Rachel SKD, S Sirajudeen Ahamed (2015, Nov). Optimisation techniques applied to launch vehicle structures: An overview. Journal of

Mechanical engineering- A publication of Space Society of Mechanical Engineers. 11, pp. 9-19

[3] JC Blair, R S Ryan, Schutzenhofer, "Launch vehicle design process: characterisation, technical integration and lessons learned"

[4] P. Slysh (1978). Isogrid Structures Technology and Applications. SAWE CAS-2, Index Category No: 22, General Dynamics Convair Division, California.

[5] P.Slysh and J.E.Dyer, J.H Furman an J.E Key (1976). Isogrid Structural Tests and Stability Analyses, Journal of Aircraft, 13, 778-785.

[6] P.Slysh, J.E Dyer, J.H Furman and J.E Key (1975). Isogrid Structures, AIAA/ASME/SAE 16th Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference,

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[7] R.R Meyer (1973). Isogrid - A Simple, Efficient, Stiffening Concept, AIAA/ASME/SAE 14th Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference,

AIAA Paper No. 73-365.

[8] NASA CR 124075: Isogrid Design Handbook NASA( 1973), Mc Donnell Douglas Astronautics Company.

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